What facilitates hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing and the role of stigma among primary care patients in China?

J Viral Hepat. 2022 May 27. doi: 10.1111/jvh.13711. Online ahead of print.


Approximately 80% of primary healthcare facilities in China were ready to deliver hepatitis care services by 2021. This study aimed to assess hepatitis B and C test uptake, identify the factors associated with testing and determine the predictors of hepatitis stigma among primary care patients. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among patients seeking care in the family medicine and primary care unit of the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, China. Participants were 30 years or older and had not tested for HBV and HCV in the preceding 12 months. Test uptake was defined as self-reported previous HBV and HCV testing. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, forward multivariable logistic regression and stepwise multiple linear regression were conducted, and a p-value <.05 was deemed statistically significant. A total of 750 eligible patients completed the survey, and 54.5% (404 ± 0.9) were between 30 and 40 years old. Most participants were heterosexuals 98.0% (n = 735), female 57.5% (n = 431), married 78.3% (587) and earned ≤1500 USD per month 54.4% (n = 408). A 66.1% (n = 496) and 13.7% (n = 103) self-reported previous HBV and HCV testing, respectively, and 62% (n = 468) were vaccinated. HCV testing was associated with HBV testing (aOR = 13.7, 95% CI:2.1-91.5); and HBV testing was associated with family history of HBV (aOR = 2.4, 95%CI:1.1-5.5). Overall hepatitis stigma was about average and decreased with family history of HBV (p = .017). In conclusion, HCV testing uptake among primary care patients was low and needs to be further promoted. Integrating HBV and HCV testing interventions and fostering family-based support for disclosure could effectively improve testing uptake.

Keywords: China; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; primary health care; stigma.